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Is Life Really Supposed To Be Easy?



“It’s gonna be hard, you’ll just have to suck it up,” my boyfriend warned me.


“Can you do that?” he asked, leading me out to the backyard where he was building our dog house.


It felt as if the grassy path from the back door to the dog house was a plank and I was being led to the end of it, where I’d agree to be pushed off to fend for myself in the shark infested waters. read more…

How to (Nothing)


Dearest soul,


I’ve been trying to come up with a really valuable article for you. Something that you can tangibly do that will help you. Something that will give you an “a-ha” moment. Something that will spark a light inside you to be happier, live more fully, love more openly. Hurt less.


But here’s the truth…


I’m tired of writing “how-to” articles.


I’m tired of providing valuable tips, advice, words and techniques to try to help you.


I write this stuff because you ask for it. And I want to help.


You scroll your Facebook feed, obsessively refresh your inbox and scour the internet… searching for answers… you want THE answer…. something that will make everything better. Something that will finally let you know that you are truly OK. That this mess called life has purpose and meaning.


I’m sure I’ll keep writing this stuff and you’ll keep asking.


But not today.


Today, I’m not going to give you any practical advice.


Today, I’m not going to give you any actionable tips.


Today, I’m not going to try to help you.


Today, I’m just going to tell you how I really feel about you.


And here it is:

  • You don’t have to DO anything.
  • You don’t have to ACHIEVE anything.
  • You don’t have to LEARN anything.
  • You don’t have to GET anything.
  • You don’t have to BECOME anything.
  • You don’t have to FIND any answers.
  • You don’t have to TAKE any more courses (not even mine).
  • You don’t have to FIGURE OUT how to make that magic wand work.
  • You don’t have to READ another article.
  • No more.
  • There is no MORE that needs to be found, uncovered or learned.
  • There is no MORE that needs to be forgiven, loved or accepted.


I teach all these tools and techniques and it’s all for what?


On one level, I know it helps. You’ve told me it helps. Some of you write to me crying and spilling your heart out. And I’m grateful that I can be a facilitator in helping you see your own light in this world. This deeply fulfills me.


That I can help you feel a little better when you’re in a social situation and getting anxious because someone’s being super critical.

That I can help you move through your heartache from the betrayal of that breakup.

That I can help you feel compassion for yourself when all you’ve felt was anger.


But beyond this… there’s a deeper layer of healing, and truth.


All that other stuff is surface stuff. I know it hurts and some of it cuts really deep.


But there’s a deeper layer beyond the pain and our human struggles.

It’s called the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.


The truth is you are perfect just as you are. There’s nothing for me to help. There’s nothing for you to fix. There’s just… nothing.


And in this nothingness, beauty graces us with her presence.

And the Universe explodes in stars and galaxies of reverence for our existence.


I drew the TreeDoodle above a while ago.

Today, I remind you (and myself), to dance among the stars.

Today, let’s transcend all our struggles and fears.

Today, let’s not try to fix ourselves or accept ourselves or even change the world.

Today, let’s look at the bigger picture and remember who we truly are.


But it doesn’t really matter.

We can remember… or not.

We can transcend… or not.

We can dance… or not.


The truth is the same no matter what.

You are the Universe.

And you are perfect.


That is all.

How to Be Happy Even While You’re Sad

Every day for the past 8 weeks, I’ve been waking up to this, times 9:

Can you imagine 9 of these sweet faces looking up at you, happy to see you every morning? No matter how tired you are of cleaning their poop, pee, puke and everything else that comes out of them, you can’t help but soften like butter on a hot day as soon as you see them. (more…)

The Fundamental Difference Between “Empath” & “Highly Sensitive Person”

Lately, there’s been a lot of buzz about the misuse and inappropriate interchange of the terms “empath” and “highly sensitive person”. Among countless reasons, one issue seems to be that some empaths are annoyed with highly sensitive people for clumping themselves to the empath’s sacred namesake and highly sensitive people are frustrated to be automatically categorized in some woo-woo out-of-this-world term that undermines who they are biologically.


“Why Can’t You Just Be Happy?”



One of my new readers recently shared this with me:


“My husband is finding it really hard too as he can’t understand, I bring him down as he says “There’s always something wrong, there’s actually nothing wrong, why can’t you just be happy”. I so wish I did feel happy, at the moment I just feel terrible and like I have no one to talk to about it or way out. My whole life I’ve felt different…”


Aaaaaah, if only a new tree would grow every time someone said “why can’t you just be happy,” our rainforests would flourish again.

read more…

The Not-So-Subtle Art of Being Mark Manson: A Book Review



There’s nothing subtle about Mark Manson. He’s crude, vulgar and doesn’t give a f*ck.


But like anything of true value in life, dig a little deeper and you’ll find treasure worthy of any explorer willing to look below the surface.


I recently interviewed Mark about his new book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, and found that the man behind the profanity is actually incredibly inspiring, deeply philosophical, and extremely clever.


So clever in fact that he’s brilliantly disguised his book using language as a way of tricking the reader into reading a book about values. 


Listen to the interview below:

(Warning – LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of expletives in this audio. If you’re easily offended, maybe your time would be better spent looking through these happy doodles instead. If you’d like to send me angry emails about the cussing or topics discussed in this interview, please read this article first and try to be original in your name-calling. “Asshole” has already been used.)



At its core, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a book about finding what’s truly important to you and letting go of everything else. In the same way that he encourages limiting exposure to mindless distractions such as social media, television and technology, he encourages limiting concern over things that have little to no meaning or value in your life.


In our interview, Mark said, “If seeing things online or hearing things your co-workers say is really affecting you that much then you need to look at the values in your life. If your emotions are constantly being pushed this way or that way, and you feel like you’re never in control, it’s probably because you’re valuing a lot of the wrong things.”


More than a practical guidebook to choosing what’s important in our lives and what’s unimportant, it’s a brutally honest and much needed reality check about our personal problems, fears and expectations. It’s a bold confrontation of self, our painful truths, faults and uncertainties, without all the positive airy fairy fluff we’ve been spoon-fed to believe by self-help gurus.


Think positive? “Fuck positivity,” Manson says. “Let’s be honest; sometimes things are fucked up and we have to live with it.”  


Be extraordinary? “Not everyone can be extraordinary – there are winners and losers in society, and some if it is not fair or your fault,” Manson writes.


Seek happiness? “The path to happiness is a path full of shit heaps and shame,” he remarks.


By far, my favorite quote in the book.


And I’m an incessant happiness seeker.


Reading Mark’s book, I laughed until I snorted and cried until I shriveled. He’s as painfully honest as he is outrageously funny. I find his honesty to be refreshing and fulfilling. When every other self-help book injects you with cheap, feel-good highs that last as long as your nose remains buried in the book and serves no practical purpose out in the mud and grime of your daily life, Mark’s book yanks you out of delusion and denial, points at the pit you’re stuck in and forces you to not only look at the filth and dirt covering you but also to accept it.


This, he says, is the real source of empowerment. “Once we embrace our fears, faults and uncertainties – once we stop running from and avoiding, and start confronting painful truths – we can begin to find the courage and confidence we desperately seek.”


Instead of aiming for an unattainably perfect, problem free, feel-good life, Mark suggests asking the essential question, “What problem do you want to have?”


If it’s true what he writes, that “Life is essentially an endless series of problems. The solution to one problem is merely the creation of another,” then it makes sense when he tells me that life sucks for those who constantly try to get away from problems. Instead of asking “how can I get rid of my problems?” the question becomes, “What are the problems that excite me? What are the problems for which I am willing to sacrifice for, to work for?”


“Predicated on peddling highs to people rather than solving legitimate problems,” he calls the modern self-help market the “french fries and soda version of personal growth”. “It’s really good and easy to consume… but there is an inherently painful and difficult struggle as part of growth and if you are never willing to hit people on the face with that, most people are just gonna avoid it… They’re just going to keep finding more feel-good stuff to distract themselves with.”  


As any fast food restaurant can tell you, there’s a lot of money to be made in french fries and soda. And with the self-improvement industry netting $11 billion a year in the US alone, it’s no wonder the market is saturated with touchy feely everything-is-awesome french fries. You can practically lick the hope off your fingers along with the salt.


Manson, on the other hand, offers no hope in his book. At least, not on the surface. “This book doesn’t give a fuck about alleviating your problems or your pain,” he writes. “This book is not some guide to greatness – it couldn’t be, because greatness is merely an illusion in our minds, a made-up destination that we obligate ourselves to pursue, our own psychological Atlantis.”


The irony is the book actually is about greatness. It is hopeful. There’s greatness to be discovered in accepting our lack of greatness, our simplicity and beauty amidst the complex and ugly. And in embracing our problems along with the dirt, muck and grime that essentially accompany life and humanity, we come to live the good life we always yearned for.  


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life is a deeply inspiring book about values and purpose cleverly disguised in crude four-letter vulgarity, negativity and apocalyptic doom.


There are no soft puffy cloud prancing unicorns offering hugs on colorful rainbows, only F-bomb explosions and brutal smack-you-in-the-face reality slaps.


But by the time you finish reading it, you’ll find yourself tingling with promise. The world suddenly seems brighter and lighter. You’ll feel free, and oddly, good, despite the shit sandwiches served throughout the book. And it won’t be the surfacey french fry kind of good that makes your body crave real nourishment, but the kind of home-cooked-goodness good that warms you from deep within, like you’ve just been served a hearty platter of whole, raw, organic, unfiltered truth.


Mark Manson is an author, blogger, and entrepreneur. His blog is read by more than 2 million people each month. He’s the author of the best-selling book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, available now on Amazon and book sellers everywhere.  

I Quit!

Tree scream


I quit.

I’m done.

I’ve had it.

Dear Everything,

I quit.

Sorry, no two-week notice. No training the next person. No exit interview.

Thank you very much, I’m outta here.




Yesterday morning around 8:30, I was “having a moment”. Not a life-is-beautiful-relish-the-moment kind of moment. But a the-world-is-crashing-in-on-me-fast-get-the-hell-out-of-dodge kind of moment. So I sent this text to my boyfriend.

I quit text

My Godman is used to my little freak out moments. He’s used to getting texts like this from me randomly and frequently. And he doesn’t overreact to them. That’s why he’s my Godman.

He may not understand my mini-outbursts because he was admittedly miraculously born without feelings or sensitivity, but he accepts them. Partly because he knows I just watched the sunset 3 days ago. And partly because he accepts me as I am.

And he knows exactly what to do to make me feel better.

He doesn’t play into the drama. He doesn’t buy into the story. And he doesn’t stop everything he’s doing to come rescue me on his majestic white horse, sword drawn and waving menacingly in the sky.

He knows that these moments only last exactly that – mere moments. Sometimes I feel emotions so intensely that I develop sudden and temporary Alzheimer’s. I forget that emotions come and go, that they don’t linger forever unless I hold onto them. And I forget that the rest of my life – outside of those 20 seconds – is pretty damn good.

After I texted him, I felt better. And happy, relaxed Tree came back.

But this morning, I had another freak out moment. Again.

About the same things.

And happy, relaxed Tree disappeared.

Why did I freak out?

Because I had an August 31st deadline with my book publisher. Today is September 1. And I’m still staring at a blank page.

Why else?

Because I have a September 13th deadline with an interview I did with Mark Manson nearly 3 weeks ago for a Huffington Post article. And I still haven’t opened the audio recording since the day we hung up.

Why else?

Because I promised my readers answers to their questions from Elaine Aron’s new movie, Sensitive and In Love. And I still haven’t read the 2-week old email from the producers of the movie with all the answers.

Why else?

Because I’ve been hand-picked to be a success story case study for a multi-gazillion dollar business course. And I haven’t done a damn thing to keep up with their benchmarks and timelines.

Why else?

Because I’m opening my course again in November. And I haven’t even started working on the new modules or any of the launch elements.

Why else?

Because I’m giving up my 1 on 1 private coaching practice in order to serve more people in less time. And in order to do that, I need to spend more time restructuring my business model and the thought of everything that entails overwhelms me.

Why else?

Because I have 48 unread emails from my readers that are 2 months old. And I still have no idea when I’ll find the time to personally respond to each one.

Why else?

Because I’m tired. And I’m not perfect. And I’m tired. And I can’t do everything. And I’m tired.

So, I quit.

I quit trying so hard.

I quit overstretching myself.

I quit rushing through projects just to get it done.

I quit having mini-text-meltdowns (OK, maybe this one’s a lie)

I quit saying YES to everything I want.

I learned long ago to say NO to things I don’t want.

And I’ve been saying YES to things I do want.

The problem is that when you start saying YES to things you want, more things-you-want comes. And then you have to learn how to say NO to even the things you want, because sometimes it’s just too much.

Sounds like a great problem to have.

Unless you’re a highly sensitive over-achiever who gets overstimulated with more than 1.25 things on your To-Do list.

The thing is I want to do every single one of those listed above. I LOVE writing. I LOVE working on my course. I LOVE reading and responding to reader emails. I love all of it.

But I can’t do ALL of them ALL at once. Not even a week. Not even a month. And evidently, not even 6 months.

So, I quit.

I quit everything-all-at-once syndrome.

In the same way that I can only devote my heart, soul and body to ONE man, I can only devote my time, energy and focus to ONE project.

I will no longer try to do five things in one hour.

I will now try to do one thing in five hours.

And I will do that one thing with full presence, mindfulness and a sense of lightheartedness.

If it doesn’t get done, it doesn’t get done.

As long as no one sends a tweet to the Earth to stop spinning, I think I’m good.

This is the way I work best.

This is the way I thrive.

And this is the way I actually get to enjoy doing the things I love.


So what do you quit? I’d love to read your resignation letters in the comments below.

(But I may not respond for a few months… because, well, you know…. I just quit and all.)

How To Stop Absorbing Other People’s Emotions – A Spongy Experiment

crowd anxiety absorb emotions
I’ve been experimenting with a silly new idea lately. 

If you know me, you know that I LOVE silly techniques that can instantly pull us out of our ordinary every day routines, habits and thought waves (I think this is the quickest way to cause change – by disrupting our brain patterns!)

If you know me, you also know that I LOVE experimenting on my students, readers and clients.  🙂  (thank you for always being willing to play along!)
So I had an idea one day as I was talking to a client who was struggling with absorbing too many emotions and energy from other people. She said it was difficult for her to be around people because they drain the living s**t out of her (her words, not mine!) 
Mary’s a new(er) client so we haven’t had the time together to really dig deep and change her patterning once and for all yet, and I knew I had to give her something quick that she could use the next day since she was going to a work-party with her husband and wanted to be in tip-top “performance” so she could impress his bosses. In other words, she didn’t want to embarrass him by hiding in the bathroom all night or getting overwhelmed, shut down and freaking out by 8pm.
Her solution? 
Like these:
I told her to go to her kitchen, pull out a brand new dish sponge, cut a piece out of it small enough to put in her pocket or carry in her purse. 

Then I told her that when she goes to the party the next night, every time she feels like she’s starting to get overwhelmed or losing herself in someone’s emotion or absorbing too much energy, she should reach in her pocket and squeeze the sponge.
(I told you this is silly!)
Silly rabbit, everyone knows it’s a sponge’s job to absorb things.
Let’s get this straight: it’s a human’s job to ENJOY, it’s a sponge’s job to ABSORB.
So when she squeezes the sponge, she’s basically “activating” it to wake up and do the durn job it was designed for.
I won’t fill you in on the other stuff I told her to do since it’s a bit woo-woo, but basically it was a secret magical incantation performed under the light of the full moon to evoke the sponge’s ability to absorb energy too, not just moisture.
JUST KIDDING! Though that does sound like fun, we didn’t do that.
All she had to do was:
1) Put the sponge in her pocket.
2) Squeeze the sponge anytime she started absorbing energy she didn’t want (ie: feeling tired, overwhelmed, drained, overstimulated, etc.)
3) Remember that it’s the sponge’s job to absorb, not hers. 
4) Commit to taking the day (or the next few hours) off from her self-imposed duties as an emotional sponge and allow herself to be a human being instead. 
That’s it. Nothing else. 
So did this work? Here’s the email I got from Mary the next day:
Absorbing emotions
So what do you think, want to give it a try?
Consider this our very own unscientific experiment based on nothing else other than a willingness to be silly, enjoy life and stop being sponges. I would try this myself but I don’t absorb any emotions I don’t want anymore. But if you’re looking for that quick fix until you can stop fully absorbing yourself, try this one out. 
Will this work for everyone? Definitely not. 
Will it work for you? 
Worth a try, isn’t it?

An Introvert’s Open Letter to Extroverts: 5 Things You Should Know About Me

introvert letterPhoto Credit: silvia sani via Compfight cc

Dear Extrovert,

First, let me start by thanking you for being in my life. You are the yang to my yin. You get me out more, meeting new people, having new experiences and stretching my comfort zone. You help color my external world with a vast richness that I would never find on my own. In return, hopefully, I show you the vibrant colors that exist inside you. I am an expanding being partly because of you and I am eternally grateful. read more…

Dear Sensitive Soul, You Are Love

sensitive love

Dear Sensitive Soul,

You know who you are. You feel everything so deeply it aches. When you were 10, your dad yelled at you for being too sensitive and you remember the crinkled crease in his forehead and the pain of betrayal as if it were happening now. You remember the throbbing stab of someone you love condemning you for being you and you remember your firm resolve to try to be different because who you were wasn’t good enough, who you were was wrong. read more…

How To Be Grateful Even When Life Dumps a Load of Crap On You


As I reflect on the things I’m grateful for this holiday season, the usual pops up. I’m grateful for my family, friends, the roof over my head, the food on my plate, my health, running water, blah blah blah.

Are you already bored reading this? I am.

While I truly am grateful for those, in all honesty, I’m a bit bored with this reflection. It’s not that I’m bored with these blessings, it’s that I’m always grateful for them so rehashing them feels a little stagnant and overdone. read more…

The 7 Superpowers of Sensitive Souls

Superhero kid against blue sky background. Girl power concept

I’m a superhero.

Like most superheroes, I’ve learned to keep my powers hidden and quiet. Only those closest to me know. And like most superheroes, I grew up thinking I was fundamentally flawed because of my powers. Of course, before I realized the whole superhero thing, I didn’t consider them “powers” nor did I see them as positive. I considered them weird quirks that isolated me from everyone else and I saw them as a curse.

Having found my way through the darkness of the proverbial innermost cave of the hero’s journey, I now know better. I’ve returned with the elixir and, as Joseph Campbell’s myth would have it, things are not the same. Now I know there are others like me, many of whom are still hiding their powers—even from themselves—and still thinking they’re flawed.

To the sensitive souls, who are still struggling, quivering alone outside the cave wondering if they’re worthy enough to go in, here are seven ways your cursed quirks are more like blessed superpowers. read more…

How to Toughen Up and Turn Your Sensitivity Into a Strength

girl flower“You’re too sensitive,” my boyfriend said last week.

“I know, isn’t it great?” I responded proudly, fully meaning it.

I’ve only recently begun to recognize the sheer strength of my sensitivity. Having been told to “toughen up” my entire life, I used to feel as though there was something fundamentally wrong with me, that I was somehow born flawed and cursed. While everyone else walked around with thick, impenetrable skin, mine was thin and absorbent. Almost everything affected me deeply, from an unkind word to a neglected animal to a war raging in a far off country. read more…

How To Cope With Grief And Loss When You’re Highly Sensitive


With the recent passing of one of my favorite authors, Wayne Dyer, memories of the day my father died came flooding back to me.

The morning of March 6, 2013, after they rolled his leukemia-ridden body away on a gurney, I instinctively crawled up into his bed and lay in the exact spot he died, as if filling in the outline of a body from a crime scene. It was my way of holding on, to marinate in the last space he occupied while alive. It felt like a portal between life and death and I sensed his energy lingering, still lying on the bed even though his body had been removed. read more…

How To Use Your Small Hurts As Catalysts For Big Growth

tree doodle embrace pain

I recently posted a personal win in a private Facebook group created for passionate entrepreneurs who have taken a particular, and uber popular, online business course. The group provides support, encouragement and a safe place to ask questions, share your wins, losses and everything in between.

Last week I was invited to be a guest writer for Mike Dooley’s TUT and I was so excited, I wanted to share it with my Facebook family and fellow entrepreneurs.  I posted my win in the group, partly to inspire others to keep following their dreams and partly because, well, damn it, I was proud of myself and wanted the pats on the back for a job well done.

And then… read more…

When Feeling Like Crap Is More Important Than Feeling Happy

Tree doodle shitty day “Life isn’t all about sunshine and happiness, you know,” said my boyfriend recently on a particularly rough day. He was in the midst of a difficult life circumstance and I was trying to cheer him up.

It’s not? I thought to myself, then what the hell is it all about? In my darkest days decades ago when I was battling depression, I yearned for sunshine and happiness. The fact that I wasn’t happy made me feel worse, and the worse I felt, the further away from happiness I became. It was a never ending cycle. You feel bad, then you feel bad that you feel bad, then you feel even more bad because you feel bad that you feel bad… and on and on. Acceptance of the depression, finally admitting it and allowing myself to experience it instead of fighting it, was the impetus that set me on the path out of it. read more…

Other People’s Judgments of You

treedoodle opinions

Don’t waste a moment of your joy worrying about what other people think of you. When you know who you are, it won’t matter what anyone else thinks. Be you, without apology or explanation. You will never please everyone all the time, not even the ones that matter most, no matter how hard you try. The best you can do is be true to yourself, stand firm in the knowledge of your core and act from the integrity of your innermost self. What others think about you is their business, not yours. Don’t let another person’s judgment of you shake your foundation. read more…

4 Steps to Get From Where You Are to Being Happy Where You Are

treedoodle happiness path


I went to a corporate cocktail party a few nights ago, and being the introvert that I am and deathly allergic to small talk, I decided to skip it and get right down to business. My business, not theirs. Happiness.

I quickly discovered that when confronted with the question, “Are you happy?” people generally have the same two answers, “Yes, but…” and “I’ll be happy when…” read more…

5 Tips To Supercharge Your Gratitude List & Infuse Your Life With Joy


In a recent interview for the popular Podcast, Right On Baby, with Jade Inspiration, I was quoted as saying “Gratitude lists suck monkey balls”. Those who know me and have been following my work were understandably confused, especially since I said the same thing about meditation, and I am a huge proponent of meditation and gratitude. I received numerous emails asking me to explain my comment. read more…

Take This Smile and Shove It Up Your A**: Why Telling Someone To Smile When They Don’t Really Feel Like It Can Do More Harm Than Good


Yesterday I walked into an elevator with a woman huddled in the corner, her face buried in her phone. She didn’t acknowledge me as I walked in and sensing her need for space, I left her alone. Two floors up, the elevator stopped and another woman walked in, a particularly jovial character that seemed to come straight out of a book of cliche characters. She engaged the phone lady in a conversation that I immediately could tell was going nowhere. She was trying to cheer her up. She said stock statements such as “turn that frown upside down” and “it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.” As the jovial woman left with her parting words of wisdom, the fake smile that the phone lady had put on in an attempt for social acceptance and politeness quickly disappeared.

Alone again, I blurted, “you want to tell her to take that smile and shove it up her ass, don’t you?” read more…

Go Ahead, Have a Tantrum


If life has knocked you down, if you feel beaten and worn, it’s ok. Don’t fight those feelings because you think it’s not “spiritual” to feel that way or because it’s not the “enlightened” thing to do. Allow yourself to feel beaten. Go ahead, have a tantrum. Cry. Scream. Kick. Beg. Plead. Freak out.

While it may seem contrary to what you’ve learned about positive thinking and feeling good, allowing yourself to feel whatever you feel, no matter how bad, can often lead to feeling better. Sometimes you just have to go through the emotions to get to the other side of them. read more…




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